September 2020

IZA DP No. 13719: Saving Neonatal Lives for a Quarter

Over 400,000 children die annually from neonatal sepsis, despite several RCTs finding that this can be prevented by chlorhexidine cord care (CHX) for only US$0.23 per dose. Unresolved heterogeneity in findings and other RCT scalability concerns contribute to slow CHX adoption. Studying the first national CHX roll-out — in Nepal — we find that CHX reduces neonatal mortality by 56 percent for births predicted to take place at home. We find no effect for predicted health facility births, which is consistent with heterogeneity in prior experimental estimates. Conditional on predicted place of delivery, there is little significant treatment effect heterogeneity.